Nothing screams “exciting” like packing up for a week-long backpacking expedition. Just think of it; brushing through the dense forest, birds chirping away and finally watching the shooting stars in a dense night.

However, most of the time we get ahead of ourselves and somehow get lost in the moment while packing for such an adventure. While it’s perfectly normal to pack up essentials (as you’ll definitely need them), it’s completely irrational trying to fit your entire room in your backpack.

What you lug along will define whether your trip is a hit or a miss. The objective is always to cover your base. But still, try to stay as light as possible. Do this without hauling any extras.

Packing light will, therefore, involve omitting the following;

1. Unnecessary Clothing

Backpackers utilize most of the storage space at their disposal with clothes. There’s nothing wrong with that. You need to stay clean, stylish, and comfortable.

Thus, you’ll undoubtedly pick some clothes because they form part of your backpacking checklist. However, ensure that you pack light.

What types of clothes should you pack when backpacking? That’s always the big question.

We won’t delve into what you should tag along. We will instead concentrate on what you shouldn’t include in your backpack.

Firstly, avoid cotton clothes as much as possible. They are fluffy and will take up more space than necessary.

Now, it doesn’t mean that just because all your clothes are cotton you won’t go backpacking. However, keep cotton to the bare minimum. You can layer with one or two thin but warm sweaters or jackets if you are going out in colder environments.

You should also reduce on jeans and other heavy clothes. A smart trick is to keep your preference for nylon and polyester clothing.

2. Jewelry and Other Valuables

You expect to be out in the jungle for a couple or more days. And since it’s quite unlikely there will be a beauty pageant in the woods, you’ll not use your expensive jewelry and other cosmetic valuables quite often.

So, hoarding lots of jewelry into your backpack is a worthless affair. You’ll undoubtedly have the pack on you for most parts of the trip. Therefore, it doesn’t make any sense to be carrying items that you won’t need.

Again, can you imagine the risk of losing them? Backpacking is an adventure. But as incredible as it may turn out to be, every experience comes with a lot of uncertainties. A few things could go contrary to your expectations including losing stuff on the way.

3. Many Books

Books are pretty heavy and take up a lot of space too. Yet, they are a priceless way to kill time. So, your desire to pack a book is welcome.

However, packing many books in utterly unnecessary. One is enough, two at most. You can always exchange with other bookworms in the entourage, or you could bring along an eBook.

The same applies to guide books. You don’t need the entire guide book. A single chapter should be enough to get you through.

Also, opt for soft copies – you will find PDF or other versions more convenient.  Besides, the internet is a perfect resource for anyone looking for digital guide books.

4. Unnecessary Gadgets

Adding gadgets you’ll barely use into your picklist not only adds to the weight, but you also have to deal with the needless anxiety of a plethora of things that could happen to them. It is advisable to leave behind anything that you don’t need.

You risk damaging them or losing them. Even more, every gadget comes with additional accessories hence form part of the unnecessary luggage that you should leave behind.

You don’t have to haul unnecessary electronics. In any case, the primary reason for engaging in outdoors is to disconnect from everyday life.

For example, while cameras help us to relive moments, you don’t need heavy zoom lenses unless that’s part of your regular job. Instead, a cellphone with incredible camera capabilities will do. Or, a standard DSLR camera, shoot camera, or point camera will definitely get the job done.

5. Similar Items

There is no doubt that backpacking in a group requires more and larger backpacking gear than when you resort to solo backpacking. You need more tents, more foodstuffs, and just about more everything.

However, you can conveniently stay light by ensuring that the squad doesn’t end up with multiples of several things.

A stove is a perfect addition. However, a backpacking group of five people does not need five stoves.

The same applies to a water filter. Why would everyone in the team carry a water filter when one or two will work fine for the group?

Discuss among the team members to ensure that you don’t add unnecessary weight when a few items will serve the group well.

6. Too Many Medical Supplies

For the record, you must include medical supplies on any backpacking trip. But since you may get upbeat about the harsh outdoor environment, you will likely end up with more medical supplies than necessary.

Top in the list for medical supplies is a basic first aid kit. Carry bandages of different sizes, athletic tapes, tweezers, moleskins, iodine tablets, and Benadryl.

The kit should also contain a few alcohol wipes, antibiotic ointment, and gauze swabs. Besides, if team members have any special prescriptions, then it is ideal that you include them.

Final Words

Backpacking is a unique activity. So, your non-essentials are probably some other backpacker’s must-haves. The key to getting it right is early preparation.

Make a list ahead of schedule. Lay everything out, pack and repack them several days before the actual day.

While there are thousands of things you can leave home, prepare yourself adequately by including zip-lock bags, twist ties, basic toiletries, and sunscreen, among other backpacking essentials.

Kelvin Mwathi